Top search engines have been changing their algorithms over the last year or so to make topic-based content supreme. In addition, your business competitors have been silently developing their SEO strategies while simultaneously updating their webpages to match. With all this, you may realize that your site isn’t doing the most for your business.
If you want search engines to find your content first, you’re going to have to put in some work behind the scenes. Want to get the edge over your competitors? We’ve got some need-to-know moves to stay on top.
The key to getting noticed: Topic Clusters.
The name topic clusters may not sound like anything to make a fuss about. But the truth is, this new model has been dubbed “the future of SEO and content strategy” by many industry leaders — and we have to agree.
Essentially the focus has shifted from the exact keywords you use to your actual authority on a specific topic, plus the associated keywords and longtail keywords.
What Is the Topic Cluster Model?
It’s a scientific way to describe grouping content. Basically, there is a single topic “pillar page” plus related subtopic content pages. These subtopic pages link back to the pillar page and to each other.
Your pillar page will be a long-form page with a broad topic and lots of info, like an umbrella, and this umbrella covers your cluster content pages, which include more in-depth content.
Why Use Topic Clusters?
It’s because if you want people to see your content, you don’t have a choice.
This approach came out of the evolution of how our search engines work for us. Search engines are smarter and they’re getting better at weeding out poor-quality content and awarding the coveted top search result spots to content that appears to be an authority in the requested search. It gives users a more clear and concise answer to their searches.
For example, take the latest update from Google, RankBrain, launched in 2015. It is a machine learning algorithm created to understand the context of people’s searches and then pulls on past searches with similar themes and keywords in order to crank out the best results.
What Topic Clusters Can Do for Your Site
The use of long-form posts that have narrow topics will help give visitors to your site more relevant information as well as boost site visibility for specific terms.
In addition, it can help push you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a specific topic in which you want your brand to be recognized as an expert. When you can use long-form posts to establish authority, your subtopic cluster posts will simply be an extension that enhances your content’s SEO by providing backlinks to it.
You can also reach your content marketing goals with Topic Clusters by:
1. Improving User Experience
- Keep your site organized
- Make content easily accessible
- Improve the overall user experience
When you can provide quality content and meaningful links, users will spend more time on your site, which makes it easier to turn them into customers.
2. Being Seen as an Authority
If users see you as an expert in the industry, they’re much more likely to trust you and follow through on your recommendations.
Four Steps to Using Topic Clusters to Strengthen Your Content Strategy
Now that you get the gist of what topic clusters are, here’s how to effectively use them to strengthen your content strategy.
1. Choose your content
What topic do you want to rank?
This will be the foundation for a solid content strategy.
Take some time to consider this, as it should be specific enough to go over all the different aspects on your pillar page, while simultaneously being broad enough to write various articles on the topic.
2. Identify clusters
Now that you have your topic, it’s time to start choosing the subtopics. 5-10 subtopics are a great start, and you can generate ideas around this by determining some FAQs tied to your pillar topic.
3. Scan existing content
Go over your existing content and see if there are places you can update so that you may link to the pillar page. You’ll be able to capitalize on the content you already have created and enhance your SEO.
4. Link all the content
Cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s as you go through all of your content. You must link it all back to your pillar page and to each other to be successful.
When done correctly, utilizing Topic Clusters will increase site traffic and establish your brand as an authority.
The best part? Your content isn’t competing against each other in search engines, but rather helping each other.
We love to share ideas about how to help your website get ranked at the top! Check out these two recent posts:
To learn more about Topic Clusters and other ways to strengthen your content marketing strategy, schedule a FREE business growth call to see how we can help.